God’s help no longer needed to sign up for the Air Force

As a result of the fuss about the person who was not allowed to re-enlist in the Air Force because he struck out the words ‘so help me God’ in the oath, the Air Force has reversed course and said that saying those words are no longer required, thus bringing it into line with the other military branches. The American Humanist Association had vowed to sue if the policy was not changed.

The funniest thing about this flap is that it unhinged evangelist Pat Robertson, not that he was particularly hinged to begin with. According to his weird logic, that fact that the Air Force caved in on this issue shows that they have been “terrorized” by secularists are thus not tough enough to fly bombers.

Oddly enough, he then went on to add:

“You know, we swear oaths. And ‘so help me God,’ well, what does it mean? It means with God’s help, and you don’t have to say you believe in God. You just say, ‘I want some help besides myself [with] the oath I’m taking.’”

But by his own logic, isn’t not saying the words a sign that you are really tough, that you don’t need no stinkin’ help from anyone and that you can drop bombs and blow people to bits all on your own? Surely asking for help is for wusses?

Interestingly Jehovah’s Witnesses and Quakers also refuse to take such oaths but on religious grounds.


  1. moarscienceplz says

    ‘so help me God,’ well, what does it mean? It means with God’s help, and you don’t have to say you believe in God.

    Oh. OK, Pat. So I guess any fictional character would be just as good, right?

    “So help me, Gandalf.”
    “So help me, Harry Potter.”
    “So help me, Casper, the Friendly Ghost.”

    Works for me!

  2. Pierce R. Butler says

    … thus not tough enough to fly bombers.

    So we’ll have to ground the entire USAF bomber fleet? Works for me!

  3. Ed says

    Having to swear under the condition of implied divine punishment or reward actually weakens the seriousness of the oath. I don’t endorse US militarism, but whatever someone swears allegiance to, they should be honorable enough to do it on their own.

  4. thebookofdave says

    Pat Robertson is right. God just wants us to be free. And nothing says rugged individualism like a compulsory pledge of obedience to unaccountable authority.

  5. Matt G says

    This is such a clear violation of the First Amendment that it’s a no-brainer. Very sad that it isn’t at all surprising.

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